15 August 2012

Just as you thought it was safe to open the newspaper again...

Goes away for ages, just to watch people performing all sorts of "sports", then comes back and floods us with postings. The nerve of some people. And I haven't caught up with The Commentator, yet.

Still, I'd like to start with a quote from Nick Cohen (always worth doing). It appears to have gone into hiding on his blog, so I don't have a link, but it's from an Observer column of his (15 July 2012). He says “Is opposition to reaction reactionary? Or a loathing of religious bigotry, bigoted? To slam ‘Islam as oppressive of gay and women’s rights’, said a Guardian columnist last week, is to manifest the ‘progressives’ prejudice’. True liberals did not criticise illiberal religion. They denounced criticism of prejudice as prejudiced.” This is an Alice Through the Looking Glass world with a vengeance. It is now illiberal to criticise illiberalism. How mad is that? And we thought that we were the real liberals and progressives. Plainly not (though I'd rather be behind the same barricade as Nick C. than alongside that Guardian columnist).

It gets worse. The Tablet has an article concerning the Danish paper Jyllands Posten, the one that bravely published all those Mohamed cartoons, and now has to protect itself behind a concrete barrier big enough to stop a (presumably explosive-laden) truck. The following gives you a flavour of the article, and it fits, regrettably, right in with the Nick Cohen quote I started with: "While much of the world condemned the newspaper’s decision to run the cartoons, the vast majority of Danes did not think their government should have apologized. “In Denmark we do not apologize for having freedom of speech,” then-Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at the time, a principled stand...

Yet one of the most important organs of the Danish cultural elite, the state-funded Danish Arts Council, has taken the opposite view of the citizens who subsidize it. A major art exhibit located just steps away from the heavily fortified Jyllands Posten offices at Copenhagen’s Kunsthal Charlottenborg, among the most prominent contemporary art museums in Europe, makes the case that it is the cartoonist Westergaard, his newspaper colleagues, the former prime minister, and other Western leaders who are the enemies of free expression—not those who continue to call for the murder of cartoonists and publishers."
Makes you wonder why you bother to get up in the morning! Full story here.

Just to really make your day, The Tablet also has this from JPost. It seems that the Deputy Foreign Minister of South Africa, one Ebrahim Ismael Ebrahim, made a call on Sunday to his countrymen to refrain from visiting Israel. Yep, this is the country that insists that it is against boycotts. "A rose by any other name..."

See what trouble we get into just by continuing to be. So be it: I'm not going to roll over and make their lives any easier for them. Besides, the Olympics are over and the Rugby season doesn't start for another 2 weeks.

By Brian Goldfarb.